Vivendi makes fresh commitments to secure free-to-air channels deal

Vivendi has made a series of fresh commitments to secure regulatory approval for its acquisition of former Bolloré-owned free-to-air channels D8 and D17. 

The move follows a decision by top lawmaking body the Conseil d’État in December to rescind the previous authorisation of the acquisition.

Vivendi and Canal+ have now submitted a series of commitments to the French competition regulator to secure approval for the deal, which was originally struck in 2012.

Having originally committed not to acquire, in the course of a single calendar year, pay and free TV rights simultaneously for more than 20 recently-released French films, Canal+ has now additionally offered not to pre-acquire, in the course of a single calendar year, both pay and second and third free-to-air window rights for the same French film for more than 20 titles.

The competition authority will now examine the competitive impact of the deal, taking account of the way the market has evolved, and has asked for the opinion of media regulator the CSA and telecom regulator ARCEP.

The Conseil d’État cancelled the competition authority’s approval of the acquisition of the two channels – previously known as Direct 8 and Direct Star – on December 23 on the basis that Canal+ occupied too dominant a position in the distribution of recent French films in the clear.